SIGN UP: State Leg to take up background checks for gun sales (and this year it could pass)

In the fight against gun violence in New Mexico, at least one significant piece of legislation filed this year aimed specifically at keeping guns out of the wrong hands. With a new Democratic majority in both houses of the State Legislature and the largest progressive caucus in state history, supporters of common-sense gun violence prevention see this as the year to pass background check legislation. While NRA-backed legislators managed to delay and kill similar legislation in previous years, background check bills have passed in states around the country. This year, State Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard along with State Senate Maj. LeaderPeter Wirth and Sen. Richard Martinez sponsored legislation to keep New Mexicans safer by requiring background checks for gun sales.

A Recap – Progressive Action Summit 2017

Red River, and Raton, and Farmington, and Hobbs, oh my! People came from near and far on January 7th, for ProgressNow NM’s first ever, Progressive Action Summit. The Summit was a jam packed day of exactly that – action. If you weren’t able to be with us, you might be wondering what happened:

22 Community Organizations: delivered presentations, workshops or panels, concerning and or addressing current and or proposed legislation, while gathering awareness and support around their issue. 22 Elected Officials: gave time out of their day to participate, present, engage with and respond to citizens and leaders from our communities.

How Artists Are Responding – Artists’ Town Hall EVENT November 14th

Artist’s Respond: Some of Albuquerque’s best are set to take the stage November 14th, 7:00-8:30pm, as a community approaches the creative process, and how it is used to process trauma and violence. DETAILS HERE
WHY ART? “I believe that we learn more about ourselves when we observe and appreciate the truths of another person’s art. I also believe that we learn the most about ourselves as artists when we are vulnerable enough to share our truths with an audience of strangers. Together, we all grow and become more connected,” says Ebony Isis Booth, featured artist at Central Features’ November 14th “Artists’ Town Hall.”


“I think that art and activism are inextricably linked.

EVENT: Central Features Set to Host “Artists’ Town Hall” Regarding Responses to Violence and Trauma

“I opened Central Features Contemporary Art in Sept 2014 because I wanted my investment in ABQ to combine art and business, and I wanted to help promote artists whose work I respect and admire,” said Nancy Zastudil. Nancy is a local gallery/small business owner, who is hosting a “town hall” style event later this month. Monday Nov. 14, 7pm [Details]
The event focuses on issues and emotions that surround  violence and trauma in our communities and individual lives. Not only their presence, but the event serves to provide a space for a conversation, about our responses to violence and trauma, alike.

Officer Webster’s shooter bought the gun in a parking lot from a guy on the internet. Background check bills would have prevented that sale.

Embedded in reports from the Federal firearms trial of Davon Lyman, the convicted felon accused of shooting Albuquerque Police Officer Daniel Webster last year, were new details surrounding how Lyman acquired the gun used to kill that officer: the convicted felon bought the gun in a parking lot from someone he had never met, without a background check that would have prevented the sale to a convicted felon. At the end of the Albuquerque Journal’s report from the courtroom was a summary of testimony from a local man who sold Lymon the gun:

Gun seller
Tuesday’s witnesses included the man who said he sold Lymon the Taurus pistol police said fired the shots that killed Webster. He recounted talking to Lymon on the phone before agreeing to meet him in a Wienerschnitzel parking lot on Juan Tabo, where the sale took place. [read more from the ABQ Journal]

Another witness, Savannah Garcia, a 17-year-old woman who was riding on the back of Lymon’s motorcycle the night of the fateful traffic stop put Lymon at the scene and identified him as the man who pulled the trigger on the gun that led to Webster’s death. Lymon recently waived his right to a jury trial.

The NRA had a breakfast for NM candidates; What they said when they thought no one was listening is amazing

Last Saturday I attended a National Rifle Association breakfast for local Republican legislative candidates. An NRA lobbyist jetted in to tell a few lies and fire up the troops. The NRA desperately wants Republicans to control our Legislature, and will put up big bucks to keep making big bucks on gun sales. When the lobbyist mentioned that Representative Rick Little was on the Safety & Civil Affairs Committee, “one of the places a good gun bill or a bad gun bill will go,” Little quickly added “and get killed.” A pocket-sized NRA handout made clear there are no good gun bills – except one that broadens the concealed-carry law or cuts the prices for licenses.  

The arguments against well-crafted gun laws – and I grant that not all legislation is well-crafted – are “slippery slope”: if you let the government require background checks or try to prevent terrorists from having guns, soon they’ll be knocking on your door to confiscate your gun.

Las Cruces City Council passes background checks resolution. Which city will be next?

With dozens of local voters on hand to watch, the Las Cruces City Council voted yes Tuesday afternoon on a resolution that urges state lawmakers to pass comprehensive background checks on all firearm purchases within the state during the 2017 legislative session! Everytown for Gun Safety and ProgressNow NM teamed up to alert and turnout Las Cruces residents for the Council Meeting. Meanwhile, the NRA made defeating the Las Cruces resolution their national call-to-action on Independence Day:

After featuring it on the front page of their action page, NRA members from around the country inundated City Councilors with (mostly) out-of-state emails and calls in a well-worn tactic to tie up means for local constituents to show their support for similar legislation. From KRWG News:
Las Cruces City Council passed a resolution urging the State Legislature to pass legislation requiring comprehensive background checks for all gun sales in New Mexico by a vote of 5 to 1 with one abstaining. Many people packed the Council Chambers for the debate on gun legislation.

TURN OUT: Las Cruces City Council to consider Gun Violence Prevention resolution

Earlier this month marked the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history — and in the aftermath, once again, Congress failed to pass stronger gun laws. Hundreds of people turned out right here in Las Cruces for a vigil to honor the victims and to demand action to #DisarmHate. In Las Cruces, our elected leaders are listening. But we need your help. The Las Cruces City Council is voting next week on a resolution urging New Mexico to pass background checks for all gun sales — a proven way to help save lives.

A new New Mexico movement to pass smart gun laws starts now

Earlier this week, I asked our staff “Can ProgressNow help to  build a new coalition of progressive voters who actually asked candidates about their plans to keep guns out of the hands of children and bad people, and will those voters share that info with their friends and family before election day?” They thought so and they built a campaign to test that idea with a few key supporters. Our test got a good response, but then something unexpected happened in DC that made it even bigger: Congress did something! Just as we launched our new campaign, Senator Heinrich joined a bi-partisan group of Senators to announce a new Senate bill to prevent terrorists from buying firearms.
Then Cong. Ben Ray Lujan and Michelle Lujan Grisham joined the #SitIn to demand a vote on a similar bill in the House (Sen. Udall even joined them!)


WATCH/UPDATE: Sen. Heinrich cited for working
over weekend to craft new anti-terrorist gun access bill
ProgressNowNM | June 23, 2016

READ MORE: NM Dems take part in
‘#NoFlyNoBuy’ sit-in
NM Political Report | June 23, 2016 

New Mexicans love seeing our elected leaders take a stand and that’s just what our new campaign is encouraging our state legislators to do.

NM delegation joins sit-in demanding action on gun violence

Members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation joined fellow Democrats Wednesday for a sit-in on the floor of the US House, demanding a vote be called on bills to curb gun violence. Representatives Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Lujan were also joined by Senators Udall and Heinrich in their support of the action and all were vocal in their support for ‘no-fly, no-buy’ legislation and more universal background checks for firearm purchasing. I just spoke with supporters outside of the Capitol about our sit-in, #NoBillNoBreak and #GunViolencePrevention
— MichelleLujanGrisham (@RepLujanGrisham) June 23, 2016
Of course not EVERY member of the New Mexico delegation was behind the common sense demands to curb gun violence. NRA endorsed Rep. Steve Pearce issued a few unsurprising tweets from the floor over the course of the day. Democrats still staging sit-in on House floor on gun control – why we not talking about combating terrorism?